Sunday, July 31, 2011

simple summer bento

Hi bento pals! A simple and cooling lunch for Monday: tabbouleh with parsley, scallion, yellow pepper, red onion, shrimp-mayo filled avocado, cucumber slices and bright farmer's market tomatoes, so flavorful they need no seasoning at all...

Have a wonderful week ahead!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

rilakkuma's french bento

Today's bento was inspired by a handmade bento pick project using Rilakkuma stickers portraying RK and friends enjoying a Parisian vacation with baguettes and sweets while sporting cute!

In keeping with the Parisian theme, lunch includes a mini croissant filled with broiled mini hamburger, aioli and grape tomatoes, haricots verts with walnuts and French walnut oil. Ripe cherries plus juicy watermelon for a simple, sweet finish...

I'd like to wish my Mom a very Happy Birthday today!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

summery sicilian flavors bento

Hi bento pals! A light and cooling bento for another hot July day. This one features crab and shrimp with orange-infused olive oil over snow pea tops, capers, baby orange pepper and a couple of spicy nasturtium blossoms. Bruschetta with diced tomato, yellow peppers, olive oil, plus white peach, watermelon and mint for dessert. I loved the watermelon-mint flavor combo.

Here's the wonderful Sicilian orange-infused olive oil I've been using to brighten everything from salads to pasta recently...

A few images from the farmer's market, including some sun-colored peppers I brought home:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

beautiful sebastopol

Hi bento pals...on this infernally hot D.C. area weekend, I'd like to revisit and share with you some images from our recent trip to the delightful Sonoma County town and farmer's market of Sebastopol.

There was a baby pet goat adoption fair hosted by the Goat Rescue sweet!

Beautiful, vibrant produce and flowers and live jazz made for a lovely market scene. The mellow, happy vibe was remarkable here; after gathering a few items like honey sweet cherries, we sat on a park bench and fell into easy conversation with locals about the market and town...

These pink roses were potently, amazingly fragrant! Yes, I had to buy them...

A local healthy cooking school shared these delish mashed fava bean and goat cheese on watermelon radish treats:

The view from our park bench

A pretty rainbow of beads in a nearby shop...

Art gallery window: love the soft-bright tones in this painting

Tamberlane is a charming, cheerful home decor shop with bright 1940's inspired textiles, even cute colorful skewers perfect for bento. Ever feel like a shop reflects your aesthetic to a "T"? That was this place for me...

Stay cool, friends!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

bbq chicken bento

Hi bento pals! Today's bento features some really yummy chicken from last night and a host of summery companions. We marinated chicken thighs in Smokie Joe's BBQ sauce for several hours then roasted them (with a few final minutes in the broiler to caramelize a bit). So good!

Alongside the chicken, lunch includes coleslaw, yellow corn, baby market greens and golden tomatoes, roasted sweet potato slices and a little cup holding cherries and white peach slices. If you are in an area affected by the current U.S. heat wave, stay cool and safe!

Monday, July 18, 2011

summer delights

Hi bento pals! It is hot, humid and truly summery here, but at least the local farmer's market is full of juicy bright bounty, and yielded the key ingredient--heirloom tomatoes--of a favorite decadent and summer-only treat: bacon, onion and tomato sandwiches.

First, Saturday's sunny market selections:

Saturday's delicious dinner was a rite of summer, one we indulge in a few times over the long, hot months of heat and sun-ripening market tomatoes: Applewood smoked bacon, three heirloom tomato varieties, red onion, a thin smear of mayo and white bread toasted and very lightly sauteed in bacon fat. Perfection, this alchemy of texures and tastes!

Baby market greens with edible blue borage and spicy nasturtium flowers, with sea salt and magical Sicilian orange infused olive oil:

Sweet ripe white peaches for dessert!

Friday, July 15, 2011

sunny yellow inspiration bento

Hi bento pals! Today's lunch features a bright yellow pepper filled with corn, crabmeat, scallions and Japanese roasted sesame dressing. Romaine leaves and edible nasturtium leaves and flowers also in the bento along with hidden green apple slices. Refreshing Sencha Shot green tea to drink...

The sunny yellow notebook was found at a great stationary shop in SF's Japantown, I really love its pure and happy color. "Heavenly Blue" morning glories have burst into bloom for the first time, such a lift to see them this morning:

Happy weekend!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

of dim sum and bento boxes

Hello bento pals! We recently spent a wonderfully sensory day exploring San Francisco's Chinatown and Japantown. Some glimpses of the colorful, evocative and extremely tasty things we encountered follow.

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, note the sculpted Art Deco details in the second image.

Chinatown, late morning, with bright sky and green leaf-lit freshness:

I loved this bird mural...

Dragonfruit and melons

Chinese herbal medicines, harmoniously displayed

Our breakfast of good dim sum, was very fond of the shrimp and dark greens dumplings at the top of this photo...

Beautiful vegetable seeds, like postcards from a cosmic garden!


Check out the intricate tones and textures on this hanging lamp, lovely against the gold and cinnamon wall:

Chinese tamales--a great expression of California's culinary cross-fertilization. Wonder what they taste like? Next time I'll find out!

Here we are reflected in the bakery window. Love the film noir-era sign letters in black and gold...

The nostalgic, garish and effortlessly beautiful all combine here and call out from each sloping street and shifting vista...

Arriving in Japantown, getting our bearings at the Peace Pagoda. I'm hungry for lunch and eager for some bento shopping!

 Inside the large indoor malls, so many versions of Japanese refinement and fun...

Daiso! This place is the Holy Grail for budget bentoists...some great little treasures here, my new sunny yellow boxes were less than two dollars each.

We were excited to see a ramen shop whose sign announced noodles made on premises daily...have been searching for authentic ramen in the DC area without great success.

Here's Jamison happily tucking into his soup featuring roast pork in a garlicky broth with bamboo shoots and eggs. Incredible noodles. Mission accomplished!

Meanwhile, I was tackling this weighty, salty, tasty okonomiyaki  pancake. Yummy indeed with sharp mustard and pink pickled radish accompaniments...

At a nifty hardware/housewares shop, seeds for growing traditional Japanese vegetables and herbs

...many of which were available at the excellent markets and delis in this part of town. We loved the selection of fresh foods at Nijiya Market!

Sweet treats at Yasukochi's Sweet Shop. I hope they never change this wonderful 1970's sign!

Here's a bento I made the next day with leftover okonomiyaki and pickles, shiso leaves from Nijiya and mochi from Benkyodo Co., plus avocado, scallions and Sebastopol market purple radish.

Thanks for coming along on this flavorful journey!